Celtics (39-13) vs. Washington (23-28)
January 31, 1980
The Celtics ended the first half of the season by embarrassing the back-to-back defending Eastern Conference champions on their home floor. The NBA landscape was changing: the Celtics had replaced the Bullets as one of the East’s top two teams, and the second half of the season would provide the Lakers with the same opportunity to replace Seattle as the premiere team in the West.
Larry Bird led the Celtics in their 119-103 victory with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. After allowing the Bullets to push them around a week earlier at the Garden, the Celtics responded by amplifying their intense and physicality. The Celtics won the battle of the boards, 47-38. Another key for the C’s was the play of Eric Fernstern, who appeared to be on the cutting block the moment Pete Maravich was ready to play. Fernstern, as Bob Ryan noted in the Globe, made his teammates proud with this performance: [Read more…]